Two point-scoring finishes in both the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix races meant a good step forward for Maria Herrera and Openbank Aspar Team in the all-electric MotoE championship. Despite some troubles, Herrera recovered with strong comebacks to finish both races in P11.
As MotoE championship reaches its half-way mark with the racing weekend at Misano - which hosted this year's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix - the all-electric motorbike championship now sees its 2020 campaign coming to a close with two rounds to go.
“In the first free practice we have taken a step forward, we have started straight with the pace with which we finished the race." - commented Herrera. "In the second free practice I improved a bit in braking, but I need to be able to turn the bike better, because we lose a lot with others in the changes of direction."
"Tomorrow we have the ePole session in the morning and the first race in the afternoon." - she said after the practice sessions. "We are going to try to improve as much as possible so that we can be in the group and fight hard.”
The quali was delayed because of a technical issue at the pit exit, but after ten minutes of waiting, the session could finally resume.
Jordi Torres was the man to beat as he claimed pole ahead of Matteo Ferrari and Dominic Aegerter. Maria Herrera had to avoid a crash on her flying lap and lost some time in the process, denying her of a better result. She would start from P17 out of 18 drivers.
Race 1 started turbulently, as Ferrari snapped the lead and Tulovic crashed heavily. He was taken to the medical center after a huge highside and a hard hit on the asphalt.
The next crash happened on the second lap, when Mike Di Meglio was out. Meanwhile, Niki Tuuli was penalized with a double long lap because of a jump start. But drama wasn't over: shortly after, Eric Granado and Xavier Simeon battled hard for positions and Granado brought Simeon to fall ultimately.
At the end, it all came down to a fight between Ferrari, Torres and Aegerter, who were separated by over a second gap to fourth-placed Mattia Casadei. Aegerter passed Torres on the last lap and gave it his all to pass Ferrari as well. A hard duel followed, but at the very final metres it was Aegerter to claim victory ahead of Ferrari and Torres.
Because of track limits infringements, Ferrari and Torres swapped their places in the final result of race 1.
Maria Herrera started from P17 on the grid, had some troubles as Tulovic crashed in front of her and couldn't recover many positions with a smiliar pace as the riders in front of her.
“I started quite well, but Tulovic crashed in front of me and I couldn’t stay in touch with the group." - she said.
"I had to recover, but I had the same pace as them and I was unable to contact them. I think that tomorrow we can take a step forward because the eleventh position is better for us. We still have to improve the set-up a bit so that the bike allows us to turn better and thus we can ride faster.”
Maria Herrera started Race 2 from the 11th position on the grid, while Aegerter took the pole position following his win on Saturday. Simeon was forced to start from the pitlane as his bike wasn't ready in time for the grid. After his heavy crash on Saturday, Tulovic was back on the grid despite suffering a metacarpal fracture.
Shortly after the start, Ferrari overtook Aegerter for the lead but luck wasn't on his side: Marcon carried way too much speed into the corner and made contact with Aegerter's rear wheel - who crashed but could then continue the race.
Ferrari defended his lead until the chequered flag and won ahead of Casadei and Torres.
Maria Herrera finished again in P11 and was happy about her improvements in race pace. She summed up her race with these words: “Starting from the intermediate group I thought that I could have gone with them, but at the start I almost collided with another rider and, as it is difficult to change position quickly with this bike, I had to cut my throttle and several rivals overtook me."
"From the second lap I was already faster than I had been all weekend. I still don't fully understand the tyres, but I'm happy because we have improved the race pace, we are closer to the riders in front and we finished two races with points.”